Global Youth Culture: Personal Experiences and Struggles
Let’s dive into what our recent Global Youth Culture research discovered about today’s teens’ Personal Experiences and Struggles.
- 1 in 4 teens globally report having had suicidal thoughts within the last three months. 1 in 14 teens say they actually attempted to take their own life within the same time period.
This is a cry for help. Suicide attempts were observed to trend with age, being highest among younger teens and lowest among older teens. Each number here represents a young person who feels down enough about their life to want to end it. We must bring light into the darkness.
- 3 in 10 teens globally report having been sexually active in the past three months. The rate is even higher among Christians (1 in 3).
Alarmingly, Christian teens are more likely to be sexually active than non-Christians. Yes, you read that right. Many young believers don’t believe pre-marital sex is wrong. It’s not enough just to teach teens what the Bible says, we must figure out how to actively encourage young people to live out the biblical view that values and stewards the gift of sexuality.
- 48% of teens globally say they have recently looked at pornography.
Clearly, sexual temptation is a serious struggle teens are facing, and many of them are acting on it. We cannot assume that age or religion protect a teen from sexual feelings and urges. The numbers reveal that even a teen who is walking with Jesus and regularly engaging in Scripture is likely to be struggling in this area.
The physical and emotional temptations and struggles teens experience are frightening. Being aware of their reality, we can move from informed to empathic to action. While it may be uncomfortable, we can only understand and help them when we are willing to see what life looks like through their eyes.
What Are We Doing About This?
I asked our OneHope team around the world to share how these findings are impacting their ministry strategy. I invite you to also ask yourself: “What do these findings mean for my family/ministry/business/etc.?”
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 11 of the top 15 countries for suicide (per capita) are located in the Eurasia region. Furthermore, 4 of the top 5 countries are from the former Soviet Union. Our Global Youth Culture data has further validated this, and we are now working with partners to address the mental health issues of Gen Z.
- In Africa, we are engaging national youth networks and high school teacher forums across the countries where this research was conducted (Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa) to have conversations around the mental health crisis, high drug usage, and sexuality with the desire to build contextualized artefacts and resources that can serve youth leaders and teachers as they engage with teens in Africa.
To learn more about Global Youth Culture and explore the full research reports, visit www.globalyouthculture.net